Short: Sunderland on right track

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ELLIS Short yesterday gave only his second interview since taking over Sunderland Football Club in 2008.

Once again the club owner spoke only to the club’s website rather than meeting independent journalists.

But that will not bother fans who have watched the intensely private American pump over £70million into the club over the last few years.

And supporters are likely to feel reassured that Short was ready to go public in a bid to make himself visible to the very people that he and chairman Niall Quinn are asking to turn up in their droves at the Stadium of Light in order to help grow the club.

The American admitted that progress had not been as swift as he had originally hoped, but he felt the club was on the right track.

“My last interview was the last day of the season two seasons ago and we had just stayed up on that day,” he recalled.

“I was asked then what I expected for the next season and I said that I didn’t expect us to be in a relegation battle again and I wanted us to finish in the top 10.

“In retrospect, I was a little optimistic – we did make good progress last season but obviously we didn’t finish in the top 10.

“The good news is that we’ve made a lot more progress this season and it looks like we’ll achieve both those goals.

“More importantly, I think we can safely say we’ve dropped the title of ‘yo-yo’ club and are now an established Premier League team. We’ve had our ups and downs but, overall, I’m happy.

“We’ve progressed as a team, we’re much better than we were before, but we’re also a young team with the prospect of getting better in the future.

“We’ve had terrible injury problems and they have hurt us, but we’ve coped with it much better than we would have done in the past.”

Now the American is hoping for Sunderland to finish the season strongly and ensure they clinch their first top-half finish in a decade.

“Going forward, I hope our good season continues,” he added.

“We have four home games against teams below us in the table, all of which are winnable, and we’ve got our injured players coming back.

“We’ll be doing anything we can to win those games.

“We are not looking behind us anymore, we’re looking forward to how high we might finish.

“And if we can play those four games in front of a full stadium, that makes it all the more possible that we’ll achieve what we want to do.”